‘What’s lor-aze-pum?’ I decided to tell them the truth. It’s life. It’s reality.’: Mom shares lesson in vulnerability, ‘Even if it’s uncomfortable, it’s okay to ask for help’

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“‘What’s ‘lor-aze-pum’?’ my daughter asked as I was pulling away from the pharmacy drive-up window. I paused for a minute, wondering if I can (or should) talk about what was in the prescription bag with my kids. Up until this moment, I have been fully transparent with my children. For one, they need to know what happens behind the scenes with actual people—not everything is as it seems on the outside. I do not want them growing up with a false sense they are somehow drastically different than anyone else.

Most of the time, if they ask me about something, I will simply tell them because who needs secrets or taboo information? When my son was really little he asked, or I should say screamed throughout the beach condo we were staying in with my dad, ‘Moommmyyyy! Mommy! What is mommy pulling out of her butt?’ He was little, but I still told him what it was. Years later, when he had a question about periods, he made the connection. It’s life. It’s reality. Content about our bodies or what happens in our lives should not be forbidden intel.

So why am I hesitating now?

As we pulled out of the parking lot, I decided to tell them the truth. I told them I had to have a procedure to surgically remove a mole with a large section of tissue from my neck and, bottom line, I was really scared. I reminded them of how squeamish I’ve become—we’re talking passing out at the sight of my daughter’s nose bleed—and that I don’t think I would handle this procedure well without some help.

A woman points to her throat before a medical procedure
Courtesy of Melanie Forstall

‘I asked my doctor for help. I told her I was really scared.’

I told my kids I was scared. That’s right, mommy is scared. 46-year-old mommy is scared and asked her doctor for help.

‘It was a little awkward at first, but my doctor was really supportive. The medicine in the bag will help me not feel scared when I go in for the procedure.’

A woman lies on a table while a doctor operates on her neck
Courtesy of Melanie Forstall

Guess what happened?

Nothing. Well, I think something did actually happen, but it surely wasn’t anything bad. They understood. They got the message. That was it. Then we moved on to a random discussion about whether or not our souls can see other souls after we die. Like, will there be talking and laughing with other souls? Will this be earth 2.0 just without bodies?

Asking for help is not always easy for some people. In some cases, extreme independence is actually a trauma response. I just don’t think we are meant to be totally insular individuals. We are hard-wired to interact. To need each other. To help and be helped.

I would argue we often need to rely on other people—not just because of, say physically needing someone to help you lift a sofa; but actually needing the real connection that happens during interdependence.

Asking for or accepting help doesn’t make us weak or weirdly dependent, either. Just the opposite! It takes a lot of courage to ask for help. It takes being in a state of vulnerability to accept it. And as far as I can tell, only the most bad*ss people I know allow themselves to be vulnerable.

I know asking for help can be difficult. I get it. It can be awkward. So that’s why it’s so important for me to show my children even if it feels uncomfortable, it’s okay to ask. And maybe just as important, if and when help does arrive, (even in the form of a prescription bag with one pill inside) be willing to accept it.”

A mom stands with her two children outside
Courtesy of Melanie Forstall

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Melanie Forstall of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. You can follow her journey on Instagram here and Facebook here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Melanie here:

‘I don’t know where you guys live, but where I am, there’s structure and a schedule. It’s flexible and resilient.’: Woman reminds others to ‘find happiness in what’s in front of us’

‘In the middle of a heated conversation, a woman called me ‘cold.’ Her intent was to shame me, make me feel bad for not having an emotional response.’: Woman learns to embrace being ‘emotionally strong’

‘To be fully honest, if I didn’t stay busy, I’d eat all of the quarantine snacks while standing in my kitchen staring at my phone.’: Quarantined mom urges ‘take it all one day at a time’

‘You’re on an island, Melanie; an island alone!’ She yelled at me. Her words were an attempt at shaming me.’: Woman claims that being an ‘island’ allows us to grow in ways we never could before

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